Updated: August 10, 2021 7:54:05 pm
With the reopening date of schools in Karnataka fast approaching, the measly rate of fully vaccinated teachers has been worrying parents. Last week, the state government had announced that schools will reopen for students in classes IX, X and PU (equivalent to classes XI and XII) from August 23 with precautionary measures. However, Principal Secretary of the Primary and Secondary Education Department S R Umashankar said Monday that while 84 per cent of the teachers had taken one dose of the vaccine, only 19 per cent had been given both doses.
Ganesh Poojary, organising secretary of the Karnataka State Parents Coordination Committee said most parents were against the idea of reopening schools across the state at the same time. “We have been airing our displeasure on the decision to reopen schools across the state on the same day as resumption of offline classes in rural pockets, where online classes could not be held and the caseload is low, would have been ideal,” he said.
He attributed the government’s “untimely” and “risky” decision to the pressure mounted on it by private school managements. “With this, private managements will now force parents to pay the full fee for the year. The third wave, which is expected by October, will then result in schools halting physical classes and the whole cycle will repeat with students from rural pockets being affected again,” he alleged.
Sarada N, parent of a student in Bengaluru, said the government had to ensure double vaccination of at least the teaching staff at schools. “Even if students are given an option to attend classes online or offline, peer pressure will force most of them to go to schools. The government should have considered the safety of others at home and ensured that teachers, who closely interact with students, were given both shots of the vaccine,” she said.
At the same time, officials in the Health Department said they have directed their counterparts in the Primary and Secondary Education Department to forward the lists of school staff who are yet to be vaccinated. “This will include information of unvaccinated teachers, non-teaching staff and even parents of students in Classes IX and X. Based on this list, they will be vaccinated on priority,” an official added.
Earlier last week, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had revealed that at least 72 per cent of the school teachers in the state were administered at least one dose of the vaccine. “The government plans to vaccinate all school teachers in the next 15 days,” he had stated after a meeting held to review the pandemic situation in the state.
The Karnataka High Court has also directed the state government to submit data on the Covid-19 vaccination coverage among teaching and non-teaching staff in government and aided schools by August 12.
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